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LSCOG Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2017

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The Lower Savannah Council of Governments' 2017-2022 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) plan for Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg Counties in SC.

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LSCOG Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2017

  1. 1. CEDS AIKEN COUNTY ALLENDALE COUNTY LOWER SAVANNAH REGION BAMBERG COUNTY 2017-2022COMPREHENSIVEECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTSTRATEGY 2017-2022 BARNWELL COUNTY CALHOUN COUNTY ORANGEBURG COUNTY
  2. 2. 2017-2022 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy L O W E R S A V A N N A H R E G I O N Contents VISION STATEMENT 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3 INTRODUCTION............................................................................... 6 REGIONAL OVERVIEW ...................................................................... 7 CEDS Strategy Committee Policymaking Board Partnerships STATE OF THE REGIONAL ECONOMY................................................11 Population Income Employment Geography Education Workforce Infrastructure Industrial Sites Transportation Housing Environment Land Resources OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS.................................................... Economic Investment Regional Economic Challenges4 VISION FOR THE REGION.................................................................... ACTION PLAN .................................................................................... Vision and Goals Strategic Projects
  3. 3. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 2 EVALUATION...................................................................................... Performance Measures APPENDIX ......................................................................................... Map 1. Regional Base Map 2. Regional Population Density Map 3. Regional Median Income Map 4. Regional Transportation Improvement Projects Map 10. Regional Bike/Ped Priority Shoulder Improvements Map 11. Regional Housing Unit Growth Map 12. DNR Regional Land Coverage Classifications Executive Summary 1. LSCOG Regional Freight Mobility Study Executive Summary 2. LSCOG Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Study
  4. 4. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 3 Vision Statement The purpose of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is to encourage the development of a diverse economy in the region while recognizing the need to maintain a balance between attracting new investment, supporting existing businesses, fostering local entrepreneurship, and strengthening the region’s key industries. This will enhance the region’s quality of life by identifying and promoting projects for funding that strengthen the regional economy leading to job creation. Executive Summary The Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG) was formed in 1967 and has worked for the past fifty years to assist six counties (3,966 square mile region) and 45 municipalities in working to improve their local economies and quality of life. There have been projects in every county in the district covering a large range of activities involving the use of a number of funding sources. The COG has worked with local elected officials, businesses and industries to develop the comprehensive strategy for the region. In 1967, the State of South Carolina formally incorporated the Lower Savannah Economic Development District (EDD) consisting of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, and Barnwell Counties. In 1968, the Counties of Calhoun and Orangeburg were officially accepted as members of the EDD. After 50 years of service this district remains a multi-county, multi-purpose action oriented planning agency. Map 1 on the following page shows the layout of the region and surrounding counties.
  5. 5. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 4 Map 1. LSCOG Regional Base Map Each county in the Lower Savannah Region is served by some form of local or regional economic development organization that has the primary responsibility for pursuing economic development projects for their respective region. In addition, the state as a whole is marketed by the SC Department of Commerce. The state, regional and local economic development entities will maintain lead responsibility for efforts in pursuing economic development projects. The Lower Savannah Economic Development District works to provide support and assistance to counties in their economic development efforts. Both the Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) have a long track record of success in supporting local governments to bring economic development related projects to fruition.
  6. 6. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 5 LSCOG is the lead agency in assisting the six-county area with regional planning and development activities. The LSCOG provides its member local governments with a mechanism for collectively working to solve common problems. It encourages activities of cooperation across municipal and county lines and provides assistance in the solution of their individual problems in such areas as transportation, water supply, air and water quality, services to the elderly, housing, economic development, tourism and job training. LSCOG's major function has been to provide assistance to the six counties and 45 municipalities in planning and obtaining federal and state funds for regional and local projects. In return for these services, the member counties financially support LSCOG. LSCOG has a permanent staff of professional planners, developers, administrators, and technicians. This staff is under the daily supervision of the Executive Director, and the Executive Director in turn receives policy direction from a 39-member Board of Directors. This Board is made up through a variety of appointments by county legislative bodies, which include representatives of private industry, institutions of higher education, elected officials, at-large citizen representatives and minority representatives. Through the coordination and advisement of the Board, LSCOG staff administers such programs as Planning, Community Development, Economic Development, Aging, Tourism, Human Services, Transit and Workforce Development. In addition LSCOG serves as a data center for the area and conducts extensive public information programs. The LSCOG has maintained a strong working relationship with its member counties throughout the years. The Economic Development program is respected as the most flexible and comprehensive assistance to improve the standard of living in the area and there is active competition for any funds available under this program.
  7. 7. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 6 INTRODUCTION The Lower Savannah Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) 2017-2022 is designed to bring together the public and private sectors in the creation of an economic roadmap to diversify and strengthen regional economies. The CEDS analyzes the regional economy and serves as a guide for establishing regional goals and objectives, developing and implementing a regional plan of action, and identifying investment priorities and funding sources. It examines the needs, opportunities, barriers and resources of the district and sets forth the goals of the development program, together with the priorities and strategy devised to achieve these goals. In addition to providing a cooperative framework for economic development coordination and planning, the CEDS also provides:  An analysis of economic and community development problems and opportunities that incorporate relevant material from other government sponsored or supported plans;  A background and history of the economic development situation of the region, with a discussion of the economy, including geography, population, labor force, resources and the environment;  A discussion of community participation in the planning efforts;  A section setting forth goals and objectives for taking advantage of the opportunities and solving the economic development problems of the area serviced;  A plan of action, including suggested projects to implement objectives and goals set forth in the strategy; and  Performance measures that will be used to evaluate whether and to what extent goals and objectives have been or are being met. The development and maintenance of the CEDS is required to qualify for U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) assistance under its public works, economic adjustment and planning programs, and is a prerequisite for designation by the U.S. EDA as an Economic Development District (EDD).
  8. 8. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 7 REGIONAL OVERVIEW CEDS Strategy Committee The CEDS process for the Lower Savannah Region of South Carolina is guided and overseen by its CEDS Strategy Committee. This Committee contains representatives from the public and private sectors. Also represented on the CEDS Committee are representatives from higher education and economic development professionals. The Committee makes recommendations for CEDS adoption and implementation to the Lower Savannah COG Board of Directors, which acts as the policymaking board. The make-up of the Lower Savannah CEDS Committee is shown in the figure below. FIGURE 1.2017-2022 CEDS STRATEGY COMMITTEE Member County Representation Lessie Price Aiken Elected Official Forest Mahan Aiken Higher Education Will Williams Aiken Economic Development Partner Rick McLeod Aiken Private Sector Bill Robinson Allendale Elected Official DeWayne Ennis Allendale Local Government Lamin Drammeh Bamberg Higher Education Sharon Hammond Bamberg Elected Official Danny Black Barnwell Economic Development Partner Pickens Williams Barnwell Local Government Bert Waling Calhoun Private Sector Ted Felder Calhoun Local Government Gregg Robinson Orangeburg Economic Development Partner Walt Tobin Orangeburg Higher Education Candice Roberson Orangeburg Private Sector John McLaughlin Orangeburg Local Government In addition to working with the CEDS Strategy Committee in the development of the CEDS, COG Planning and Workforce Development staff worked with each of the region’s Economic Development Organizations and also met with the Board of Directors of the region’s Workforce Development Board, in an effort to gain as much insight as possible in the development of this Strategy. The COG also made the draft CEDS available for public comment as per 13 CFR § 303.6.
  9. 9. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 8 Policymaking Board Lower Savannah Council of Governments Board of Directors The Lower Savannah COG is governed by a 39-member Board of Directors. Elected officials serving as representatives on the COG Board retain their membership for the length of their term of office, although they may be replaced at any time by their respective appointing body. Representatives who do not hold elected public office initially serve for the term of three (3) years or until replaced or reappointed by their respective appointing body. LSCOG elects from among its representatives a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Treasurer for a term of one year or until re-elected or their successors are qualified. These three officers also serve on the Executive Committee in the same capacity along with nine other members of the LSCOG, one per county selected from and by LSCOG representatives of each member county and three minority members, selected at large from and by the minority members of LSCOG. In addition, the most recent past chairman serves on the Executive committee. The Executive Director serves as LSCOG Secretary and performs the required duties of that officer. No county has more than one of its members serving as an officer during the same period or term. LSCOG strives to have state legislators serve as ex-officio members of the Board of Directors. Currently five of the six counties are represented by ex-officio Board members serving in the South Carolina legislature.
  10. 10. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 9 FIGURE 2. LSCOG BOARD OF DIRECTORS JULY 1, 2016 THROUGH JUNE 30, 2017. Aiken County Barnwell County Roger Boyd Freddie L. Houston Willar H. Hightower Lowell Jowers, Sr. Lessie B. Price David Kenner Kathy D. Rawls F. Pickens Williams, Jr. Andrew Siders Thomas L. Williams John Simmons Lonnie Hosey* Thomas H. Williams Danny Feagin Ronnie Young* Allendale County Calhoun County Terri Boone Helen Carson-Peterson James L. Cohen James E. Haigler Dorothy Riley (Treasurer) Roger L. Hill William E. Robinson Joe Sikes DaWan Smith David K. Summers Theresa Taylor Ken Westbury Russell L. Ott. * Bamberg County Orangeburg County Jerry Bell Janie Cooper-Smith Clint Carter J. Danny Covington Sharon Hammond Vacant Shawn Hanks Johnny Ravenell (Chairman) Larry Haynes (Vice Chairman) Silas Seabrooks, Jr. Gerald Wright Harry F. Wimberly Justin Bamberg* C. Bradley Hutto* * SC Legislative Delegation Representatives
  11. 11. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 10 Partnerships A significant element of this effort is the importance of working together as a region. The implementation of the CEDS focuses federal, state, local and private projects and funding towards common goals. This in turn will grow existing partnerships and create new ones in order to stimulate local economic growth. Within the Lower Savannah region, the concept of regionalism is embraced and seen as a tool to solve common problems. The CEDS encourages a coordinated planning process that allows local governments to work with private investors to guide the economic future of the region in a manner that is appropriate to the character of the region.
  12. 12. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 11 STATE OF THE REGIONAL ECONOMY Population As of 2017 estimates, the six-county region had a population of 319,340 individuals, a 6.2% increase from 2000. In 2017, Aiken County remains the most populated county in the region with approximately 169,600 individuals. Allendale County is the least populated county in the region with 9,180 individuals. Figure 3 below illustrates the region’s population trends. Map 2 on the following page reflects the population density in the region. FIGURE 3. LOWER SAVANNAH REGION TOTAL POPULATION BY COUNTY 2000-2020 Lower Savannah Region Total Population by County (2000-2020) Aiken Allendale Bamberg Barnwell Calhoun Orangeburg Region 2000 142,552 11,211 16,658 23,478 15,185 91,582 300,666 2010 160,106 10,419 15,987 22,621 15,181 92,495 316,809 2015 166,890 9,510 15,160 21,850 14,950 90,050 318,410 2017 (estimate) 169,600 9,180 14,900 21,590 14,910 89,160 319,340 2020 (projection) 173,450 8,700 14,430 21,180 14,750 87,490 320,000 Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, ESRI Business Analyst Online (BAO)
  13. 13. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 12 Map 2. Regional Population Density Growth rates and demographic changes in population continue to have clear implications for the region’s labor force. A steady population growth can produce the continued labor force expansion that is necessary to meet the labor demands of area employers. The age structure of the population will also be critical, as an imbalance of workers entering and leaving the workforce can result in shortages or oversupply of workers in specific occupations or entire industries. Population changes continue to be a leading issue, both positively and negatively for economic growth and planning in the region. Responding to this trend will be a vital element in any economic development strategy.
  14. 14. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 13 Income In 2015, the regional median per capita income was $22,009, and a 72.7% increase from 2000 ($16,725). Statistical figures show that the region is following state and national growth patterns; however, the region still lags behind both the state and national values. While it is expected that the region will continue to ascend towards higher per capita incomes, long-range forecast data suggests that the gap between the regional, state and county wages will widen in the coming years. FIGURE 4. PER CAPITA INCOME BY REGION COMPARED TO STATE AND NATION 2000-2015 Per Capita Income by Region Compared to State and Nation (2000-2015) LS Region % Change South Carolina % Change United States % Change 2000 $16,725 N/A $18,795 N/A $21,587 N/A 2010 $28,895 72.7% $32,462 72.7% $39,937 85% 2015 $22,009 -23.8% $25,651 -20.9% $29,448 -26.2% Source: US Census Bureau, American Factfinder The following figure shows the region’s per capita income broken down by county and the disparity within the region. When compared to the nation, per capita income ranges from a high of 86% of the national average in Aiken County to a low of 64% of the national average in Barnwell County. Aiken County and Calhoun County are the only two counties in the region that have a higher average per capita income than the state. FIGURE 5. PER CAPITA INCOME BY COUNTY COMPARED TO STATE AND NATION 2010 Per Capita Income by County as of 2010 Aiken Allendale Bamberg Barnwell Calhoun Orangeburg State US Per Capita Income $34,325 $25,907 $26,143 $25,430 $33,279 $28,307 $32,462 $39,937 % of State Avg. 106% 80% 81% 78% 103% 87% - 123% % of National Avg. 86% 65% 65% 64% 83% 71% 81% - Source: US Bureau of Economic Analysis
  15. 15. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 14 The following map, illustrates the median income levels for the Lower Savannah Region. Map 3. Lower Savannah Region Median Income
  16. 16. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 15 The figure below provides a county level summary of the median household income for 2015 as reported by 2015 5-year American Community Survey (ACS). Within the Lower Savannah Region, Aiken County has the highest median household income of $45,759, slightly higher than that of the State ($45,483). Allendale County has the lowest median household income of $25,327. FIGURE 6. LOWER SAVANNAH REGION MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME 2015. Source: US Census Bureau. American Community Survey 2015 5-Year FIGURE 7. POVERTY STATUS BY COUNTY COMPARED TO STATE AND NATION 2015 Aiken Allendale Bamberg Barnwell Calhoun Orangeburg State US Income Below Poverty Status 161,059 8,757 14,459 21,666 14,740 87,638 4,636,314 308,619,550 % Below Poverty Status 18.08% 28.97% 28.2% 26.86% 19.65% 23.51% 17.92% 15.47% Source: US Census Bureau. American Community Survey 2015 5-year $45,759 $25,327 $31,314 $34,336 $43,531 $34,218 $45,483 $53,889 Aiken County Allendale County Bamberg County Barnwell County Calhoun County Orangeburg County South Carolina U.S. $0 $10,000 $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $60,000 Median Household Income 2015 Median Household Income 2015
  17. 17. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 16 Employment In 2016, there were approximately 125,554 employees in the six-county region. Manufacturing was the largest employment category (16,862 employees) in the region, with Management of Companies and Enterprises being the smallest employment category (92 employees). FIGURE 8. LOWER SAVANNAH REGION EMPLOYMENT BY INDUSTRY 2016.
  18. 18. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 17 FIGURE 9. LOWER SAVANNAH REGION NEW HIRES BY INDUSTRY 2016.
  19. 19. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 18 The figure on the previous page reflects the new hires by industry within the region for the second quarter of 2016 as reported by S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW). Accommodation and Food Service and Retail Trade categories had the largest new hires for the first half of 2016, with 3,402 and 3,337 new hires respectively. The graphic above illustrates the commuting patterns for the employed population in the region. The date reflects that there are 21,786 in-commuters, 28,398 out-commuters, and 96,514 employees who live and work in the area. On the following page is a listing of the top 20 largest employers in the Lower Savannah Region.
  20. 20. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 19
  21. 21. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 20 Unemployment Despite being higher than state and national numbers, unemployment rates in the six-county region have generally followed the same cycles experienced by the state and the nation. Gains in narrowing the unemployment gap between the region and the state and nation have been made in recent years. In 2016, the regional unemployment rate (6.3%) remains higher than national (4.9%) and state (4.8%) values. CHART 1. ANNUAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE TRENDS FOR THE LOWER SAVANNAH REGION, SOUTH CAROLINA AND THE U.S. Source: SC DEW
  22. 22. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 21 Geography The Lower Savannah Economic Development District is a six-county region encompassing Aiken, Allendale, Barnwell, Bamberg, Calhoun, and Orangeburg Counties. The region is comprised of 3,908 square miles in the central to southwestern portion of the State of South Carolina. The Lower Savannah region has long been characterized as a rural area, relying heavily on agricultural and textile production. However, in the past few decades this trend has changed and these two sectors are playing a decreasing role in the region’s economy, but remain very important aspects of the region’s economic vitality. Education Basic to any economic revival is an educated workforce. Educational facilities influence the academic development of the population and play a major economic role in determining the quality of available work force. The graphic below reflects the education attainment of persons 25 years and older in the Lower Savannah region. In most categories, Aiken County is comparable to the state while the other five counties fall behind state averages. 5% 5% 6% 31% 39% 25% 38% 37% 35% 3% 6% 3% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Aiken (112,845) Allendale (6,870) Bamberg (9,876) Barnwell (14,327) Calhoun (10,714) Orangeburg (59,478) PercentageofPopulationOverAge25 Educational Attainment of Population Age 25 and Over Less than 9th grade 9th to 12th grade, no diploma High school graduate (includes equivalency) Some college, no degree Associate's degree Bachelor's degree Graduate or professional degree
  23. 23. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 22 FIGURE 10. LOWER SAVANNAH REGION EDUCATION ATTAINMENT FOR PERSONS 25 AND OVER (2015) Source: US Census Bureau The region has several institutions of higher education that are very important resources for economic development efforts. The region has two regional campuses of the University of South Carolina system. The larger of the two facilities is the University of South Carolina's Aiken campus with a total enrollment of 3,548 (2016). The University of South Carolina Aiken is a four-year, public coeducational university offering undergraduate degree programs as well as three master's degree programs. Additional graduate courses and degree programs are offered through the USC Extended Graduate Campus program. The University of South Carolina established USC Salkehatchie (enrollment of around 1,000 students) in 1965 as a regional center serving the five-county area of Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton and Hampton counties. The Salkehatchie Regional Campus of the University of South Carolina offers four bachelor’s degree programs in the areas of Elementary Education, Nursing, BA in Liberal Studies and BA in Organizational Leadership. USC-Salk also offers the Associate in Arts degree and the Associate in Science degree. In 1998, the University opened the USC Salkehatchie Leadership Institute, which provides programs for local leadership development and serves as a mechanism for community and economic development. Aiken Allendale Bamberg Barnwell Calhoun Orangeburg Total Population age 25+ 112,845 6,870 9,876 14,327 10,714 59,478 Less than 9th grade 4.90% 8.40% 9.30% 7.40% 4.80% 5.80% 9th to 12th grade, no diploma 9.70% 16.90% 14.30% 13.30% 11.20% 11.90% High school graduate (includes equivalency) 31.00% 39.40% 25.20% 37.50% 37.20% 34.80% Some college, no degree 21.20% 15.70% 21.50% 19.90% 21.60% 18.70% Associate's degree 7.90% 7.00% 11.60% 9.90% 8.40% 9.50% Bachelor's degree 15.90% 10.00% 12.50% 9.10% 11.00% 11.70% Graduate or professional degree 9.30% 2.50% 5.70% 2.80% 5.80% 7.60%
  24. 24. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 23 South Carolina State University – part of the state’s higher education network – is the largest in Orangeburg County with a student enrollment of approximately 2,900 students. Additionally, two independent colleges are located in Orangeburg County: Claflin University with an enrollment of 1,900 and Southern Methodist College. Voorhees College, an independent institution is located in the City of Denmark in Bamberg County, enrolled 434 students (2015). To attend other institutions of higher learning, many residents in the northwestern portion of the region can commute to the main campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. In addition, three technical colleges (offering both day and night classes) serve the Lower Savannah region and play crucial roles in the training of citizens for manufacturing jobs. Denmark Technical College provides technical education for residents in Allendale, Bamberg and Barnwell counties. Residents of Aiken County can enroll at Aiken Technical College (ATC), which enrolled 2,459 students for the 2016 school year. Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College (OC Tech) enrolled 2,640 students for the 2016 school year. Aiken Technical College’s Manufacturing and Technology Training Center (MTTC) has been very successful in training the workforce for the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). The MTTC was designed in direct response to the demands of local industry. The 30,000 square-foot center has six separate bays and two computer labs to meet the high-tech training needs of new, current or expanding industries. May 2012 ATC was awarded an EDA grant for the construction of an Energy and Advanced Technology Facility. The Center trains students for careers in mechatronics, welding, and radiation protection technology. The Center is dedicated to preparing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of new and expanding clusters in the region such as nuclear maintenance and welding and mechatronics as these industries rise to meet an increasing demand for modern manufacturing, nuclear and energy technology. The new facility includes labs, classrooms, multi- use training rooms and faculty offices. This facility will benefit many local industries in the region and help qualify local citizens for better paying jobs. The Center was dedicated in September 2015, and was completed without debt. OC Tech received EDA grant funds in 2010 to construct the Anne S. Crook Transportation Technology and Logistics Center. This 25,000 square-foot facility is used for training students in transportation, logistics, mechatronics and fabrication. Also in the center are classrooms, labs, meeting space and offices, and freight bays. The labs and classrooms contain advanced technology and the latest teaching equipment. Transportation and logistics are two fast growing technical fields that demand a highly skilled workforce.
  25. 25. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 24 Currently, OC Tech is receiving EDA funds to construct a 25,000 square-foot health science and nursing training building to support the growing demands of a qualified healthcare workforce. The facility will include a large tiered classroom, a 29-bed skills lab, an eight-station simulated lab, a 50-seat computer lab, and faculty offices. Completion of construction is projected for the fall of 2018, with classes moving in for the 2019 spring semester. The creation of a new health sciences building will help address unemployment and promote accessible skills training to enable individuals in the region to acquire competitive employment opportunities in the growing healthcare industry. In addition to these technical colleges, five vocational centers are located in the region. They are Aiken County Vocational Center, Allendale Area Vocational Center, Bamberg County Area Vocational School, Calhoun-Orangeburg Vocational Education Center, and Cope Area Education Center. These vocational schools serve the various school districts in the counties. Clemson University Extension Service has offices throughout the region that provide research, information, education and technical assistance in production agriculture and natural resources, alternative enterprises, home horticulture, aquaculture, food nutrition, quality and safety, consumer sciences and family living, 4-H, youth and community development. Below is a listing of the educational institutions in the Lower Savannah Region. Educational Institutions Aiken Technical College 2276 Jefferson Davis Highway Graniteville, SC 29829 803.508.7263 http://www.atc.edu 2014 Degrees Awarded: 703 University of South Carolina-Aiken 471 University Pkwy Aiken, SC 29801 803.648.6851 http://web.usca.edu 2014 Degrees Awarded: 536 University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie 465 James Brandt Blvd Allendale, SC 29810 800.922.5500 http://uscsalkehatchie.sc.edu/ 2014 Degrees Awarded: 211
  26. 26. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 25 Denmark Technical College 1126 Solomon Blatt Blvd Denmark, SC 29042 803.793.5100 http://www.denmarktech.edu 2014 Degrees Awarded: 366 Voorhees College 481 Porter Drive Denmark, SC 29042 803.780.1234 http://www.voorhees.edu 2014 Degrees Awarded: 117 Claflin University 400 Magnolia Street Orangeburg, SC 29115 803.535.5000 http://www.claflin.edu 2014 Degrees Awarded: 396 Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College 3250 Saint Matthews Rd Orangeburg, SC 29118 803.536.0311 http://www.octech.edu 2014 Degrees Awarded: 434 South Carolina State University 300 College St NE Orangeburg, SC 29117 803.536.7000 http://www.scsu.edu 2014 Degrees Awarded: 738 Source: Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
  27. 27. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 26 The chart below depicts graduation trends for the Region. CHART 2. Graduate Trends for Lower Savannah Region.
  28. 28. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 27 Workforce Workforce Development The Lower Savannah Workforce Development Board (LSWDB), synonymous with the term Local Workforce Investment Board (LWIB) represents Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, and Orangeburg Counties in the State of South Carolina. The mission of the Lower Savannah Workforce Development Board is to: "Provide workforce investment activities, through a local workforce investment one-stop delivery system, that increase the employment, retention, and earnings of participants, and increase occupational skill attainment by participants and, as a result, improve the quality of the workforce, reduce welfare dependency, and enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the six county region." The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act requires that each local workforce development area establish a One-Stop Delivery System including at least one full-service or comprehensive one-stop career center. The full-service one-stop career center must have universal access, include a host of mandatory human services and employment related programs and a partnership inclusive of each mandatory program that exist in the local community. The LSWDB has established two full-service or comprehensive one-stop career centers; one in Aiken County, and another in Orangeburg County. The Board has also established satellite or affiliate centers in Bamberg County in the City of Denmark; in Barnwell County in the City of Barnwell; another in Allendale County in the town of Allendale; and in Calhoun County in the town of St. Matthews. Satellite or affiliate centers offer all available services based on its capacity, considering that some mandated programs simply are not available in the smaller communities. When unique services are demanded for which the satellite center is unable to deliver, it will draw on resources available at one of the two full- service centers to meet the need of the customer demanding that unique service. Customers are employers, job seekers, and incumbent workers. The mission of the one-stop career centers, both comprehensive and affiliate, is to: "Establish and continuously improve an accessible, seamless, and customer-focused system for reaching out and helping employers, job seekers, and incumbent workers obtain the workforce development assistance they need and desire.” Citizens of the Lower Savannah Workforce Development Area (LSWDA) desiring to benefit from services available at the various career centers, should simply walk into the nearest center and ask to speak with a member of the career center staff about their particular needs and desires.
  29. 29. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 28 Employers of the region, who desire to have their employee-shortage needs satisfied through this one-of-a kind customer-focused partnership effort, should simply contact the center’s manager or operator at any one of the workforce centers. Infrastructure Infrastructure capacity, maintenance, and creation are directly correlated to the economic health of a region. Specifically, access to water and sanitary sewer service are considered by many businesses to be a cornerstone of their basic operations. For the Lower Savannah region, all six counties have water and sewer service, however many of the rural areas and municipalities are limited to the infrastructure available or offered to them. Water and wastewater systems in the region provide quality delivery and collection for the population and industrial base where such services are available. Unfortunately, the lesser developed counties of the region do not have extensive infrastructure systems. The service that is available to these counties is usually limited to the incorporated areas. Further, the ability of these systems to serve other portions of the counties is limited by their capacity and financial resources. Most of the systems have little or no additional capacity. Persons residing beyond the limit of service must rely on wells for drinking water, septic tanks, lagoons or community treatment facilities to treat and dispose of wastewater. This lack of infrastructure in the unincorporated areas of these counties severely limits the possibilities for industrial development. Conversely, in the larger developing counties infrastructure availability is a major reason for their ability to attract industry. Generally, their capacity to treat both water and wastewater is far superior to their less fortunate neighbors. It is likely that the disparity between the two will continue because of the lack of federal and state funds available and the inability of these systems to internally finance needed improvements and expand their service. Industrial Sites The South Carolina Department of Commerce maintains an interactive building and sites locator mapping system, which can be navigated easily by the user. The Lower Savannah Region has several sites and industrial type parks within all six counties. Below is a listing of these available sites as shown by SCDOC’s interactive mapping system, LocateSC.com.
  30. 30. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 29 Aiken County Industrial Buildings: 358 Ascauga Lake Rd. For Lease 453,807 Sq. Ft. 43.17 Acres Aiken County Industrial Spec Bldg. 1040 Sage Mill Prkwy. For Sale 105,000 Sq. Ft. 22 Acres Former Pepperidge Farm 10 Windham Blvd. For Sale/Lease 74,351 Sq. Ft. 12.6 Acres Horsecreek Plant 164 Bettis Academy Rd. For Sale 326,469 Sq. Ft. 30.29 Acres Sites/Parks: Aiken Airport Site West For Sale 217 Acres Aiken Aviation Business Park For Sale 46 Acres Aiken Ford For Sale 188 Acres Aiken Montery For Sale 93 Acres Aiken Ventures Industrial Park For Sale 138 Acres Sage Mill Industrial Park For Sale 1500 Acres
  31. 31. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 30 Allendale County Industrial Buildings: Point Salkehatchie Spec Building 122 Innovation Dr. For Sale/Lease 40,000 Sq. Ft. 10 Acres Shaw 3405 Allendale Fairfax Hwy. For Sale 101,300 Sq. Ft. 25.55 Acres Sites/Parks: Airport Loop Site For Sale 16 Acres Connelly 3 Airport Site For Sale 145.09 Acres Connelly Five – Hospital Site For Sale 120.63 Acres Connelly Four Shaw Site For Sale 73.28 Acres Connelly One -125 Industrial Site For Sale 360 Acres Connelly Two Concord Church Rd Industrial Site For Sale 89.88 Acres Don Houck Site For Sale 77 Acres Harter Site For Sale 96 Acres Loadholt Industrial Site For Sale 92 Acres Pointe Salkehatchie Industrial Park For Sale 130 Acres
  32. 32. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 31 Speaks North Industrial Site For Sale 157 Acres Ulmer Site For Sale 1,091 Acres Wynns North Industrial Site For Sale 73 Acres Wynns South Industrial Site For Sale 27 Acres Zeigler Industrial Site For Sale 78 Acres Bamberg County Industrial Buildings: Cross Rhodes Spec Building 66 Innovation Dr. For Sale 40,000 Sq. Ft. 12 Acres Holland Hitch 19110 Heritage Hwy. For Sale 107,945 Sq. Ft. 16.10 Acres Tobul Industrial Bldg. 186 Accumulator Dr. For Sale 50,170 Sq. Ft. 5 Acres Sites/Parks: Bamberg County Airport Park For Sale 134 Acres Cross Rhodes Ind. Park For Sale 427 Acres Guess For Sale 130 Acres Wolf Site For Sale 300 Acres
  33. 33. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 32 Barnwell County Industrial Buildings: Blackville Industrial Bldg. 44 Bradley Dr. For Sale/Lease 50,000 Sq. Ft. 21.70 Acres Color Marks Bldg. 201 State St. For Sale 71,500 Sq. Ft. 9.40 Acres Kelly Street 110 Kelly St. For Sale/Lease 91,500 Sq. Ft. 6 Acres Main Street Williston Bldg. 12150 Main St. For Sale/Lease 18,750 Sq. Ft. 5 Acres Peeples Bldg. 677 Joey Zorn Blvd. For Sale/Lease 20,000 Sq. Ft. 5 Acres Sites/Parks: Blackville Industrial Park For Sale 375 Acres SC Advanced Technology Park For Sale 1,631.63 Acres Williston West Industrial Park For Sale 161 Acres Calhoun County Industrial Buildings: 2759 Old Belleville Rd. Bldg. 2759 Old Belleville Rd. For Sale 84,600 Sq. Ft. 14.63 Acres 480 Frontage Rd. 480 Frontage Rd. For Sale/Lease 150,019 Sq. Ft. 12.40 Acres
  34. 34. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 33 Calhoun County Spec Sonntag Dr. and Sirens Ln. For Sale 50,000 Sq. Ft. 21 Acres Sites/Parks: Calhoun County I-26 Park For Sale 148 Acres Eastman Site For Sale 760 Acres Orangeburg County Industrial Buildings: 225 Woodbine Drive 225 Woodbine Dr. For Lease 209,000 Sq. Ft. 18.60 Acres 2500 Rowesville Rd. 2500 Rowesville Rd. For Lease 388,000 Sq. Ft. 163.59 Acres Federal Mogul 2084 Rowesville Rd. For Sale/Lease 200,350 Sq. Ft. 44.41 Acres Mathews Industrial Park Spec Bldg. 106 Logistics Dr. For Lease 75,000 Sq. Ft. 26 Acres Southern Warehouse & Distribution 707 Prosperity Dr. For Lease 100,000 Sq. Ft. 15 Acres Triumph Site 375 Cannon Bridge Rd. For Sale 56,210 Sq. Ft. 6.68 Acres Sites/Parks: 0 Highway 301 For Sale 130 Acres Big Buck Boulevard Site For Sale 101 Acres Big Buck Bozard For Sale 80 Acres
  35. 35. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 34 Carolina Regional Business Industrial Park For Sale 36 Acres Gue Gressette Industrial Site For Sale 225 Acres International Industrial Park For Sale 95 Acres J. Shirer Industrial Site For Sale 745 Acres Jafza Magna Park For Sale 1,274 Acres John W. Matthews Jr Park For Sale 542.15 Acres Methodist Oaks Rail Site For Sale 100 Acres Mixon Site For Sale 343 Acres Orangeburg County Industrial Park For Sale 24 Acres Orangeburg County/City Park For Sale 259 Acres The Oaks Rail Site For Sale 118 Acres Weathers North Industrial Site For Sale 160 Acres West Annex Site For Sale 657.23 Acres Western Orangeburg Industrial Park For Sale 122 Acres
  36. 36. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 35 Transportation Network A safe and efficient transportation system is critical to the livelihood of a region. The transportation network facilitates the internal day-to-day functioning of the community and provides access to and from centers where goods and services are exported and imported. The three modes of transportation that exist in the Lower Savannah Region include roads, airports and railroads. As in all predominately rural areas of the state, the region’s system of roads and highways provides the main mode of transportation. The rural Lower Savannah region is crossed by a network of major and minor highways. Interstate 95 provides access to eastern South Carolina. This highway crosses the southern tip of Orangeburg County, with four interchanges in the region. Interstate 26 provides access through central and upstate South Carolina. The rural portion of I-26 in the region runs through the northern tip of Calhoun County and crosses the eastern portion of Orangeburg County. In Orangeburg County, there are six interchanges along I-26, and in Calhoun County there are three interchanges. Multi-lane accessibility in the region is served primarily by three interstates: I-20, I-26 and I-95. With the exception of the three interstates, there are few highways in the Lower Savannah region with multi-lane accessibility. Of the existing multi-lane highways in the region, all are US highways with the exception of portions of three state highways. Listed below are the sections of roadway that are currently either four-lanes or five-lanes:  US 25 from Edgefield County to Georgia border  US 78 from Georgia border to SC 302  SC 230 from Edgefield County to US 78  SC 19 from US 78 to US 278  US 1 from US 78 to I-20  US 301 from Georgia border to I-95  US 601 from US 301 to I-26  US 21 in the City of Orangeburg  US 601 from I-26 to US 176  US 278 from Allendale to Fairfax  US 78 in Denmark In considering the access routes of the multi-lane roadways listed above it should be noted that there are several important access routes that are excluded from the multi-lane roadway list. An apparent exclusion is US Highway 78, which is a major connector in the Lower Savannah region that runs through Aiken, Barnwell, Bamberg and Orangeburg counties. The highway has long been a regional and state priority; however, there are considerable sections of that roadway that
  37. 37. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 36 provide only two-lane access. The roadway is an important freight connector between the Port of Charleston and Augusta, Georgia, and intersects with the CSX railway midway between Charleston and Augusta in the City of Denmark. The frequency of truck traffic on the two-lane sections of this route has intensified deterioration to the roadway as well as causing decelerated traffic flow, particularly in those areas frequented by logging trucks. The same observation can be made for sections of US Highway 278, which connects Augusta, Georgia with I-95 just north of Savannah, Georgia through Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale counties in the Lower Savannah region. The highway is widely used to move freight, and similar to US Highway 78, sees a large volume of logging truck traffic. It should be noted that US 278 is multi- laned between the Town of Allendale and the Town of Fairfax. Another important multi-lane route in the region is US Highway 321, which runs north-south and parallels the CSX railway line. This highway has undergone widening between the towns of North and Neeses in Orangeburg County under the SCDOT Guideshare program to accommodate the traffic volume. US Highway 321 provides access to Columbia to the north and Savannah to the south, which results in a large volume of traffic within the region. Growth Growth in much of the Lower Savannah region has been relatively slow; however, the potential to accelerate this trend can be predicted. With the anticipation of growth and development, consideration needs to be given to the transportation impacts resulting from growth, as well as system improvements that would be needed, and how these improvements would be funded. Not all rural areas are directly in the path of growth, and not all transportation needs are fueled by growth. The rate of growth and development can in large part be determined by studying the changes in land use in the region. Growth management can better be accomplished by identifying the current land uses and projecting future uses based on a number of factors, including population estimates and projections, commercial, residential and industrial development, and existing land use conflicts. Since there is growth forecasted for the rural LSCOG region within the next 25 years, land development should take into consideration travel demand and commuting patterns for the area. The availability of large tracts of land, a favorable market, and limits within already developed areas have resulted in proposals for a number of new developments, which have significant traffic impacts.
  38. 38. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 37 Road Improvement Road improvements for the federal highway network in the rural part of the Lower Savannah region (all areas of the region except the area within the Augusta Regional Transportation Study Metropolitan Planning Organization (ARTS MPO) boundaries) are prioritized and compiled by the Lower Savannah Council of Governments’ Rural Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Transportation Policymaking Board. Transportation projects are submitted to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commissioners for inclusion in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The STIP is a requirement of federal transportation legislation and calls upon planning organizations (COGs and MPOs) to assist the state Department of Transportation in setting priority goals for roadway improvements. The funding for most of the high priority roadway improvement projects comes from the Guideshare program, which is a regional highway bonding program that utilizes anticipated available funding. There are many needs for system improvements even in the most remote areas, including the safety hazards of narrow, winding roads, deteriorating bridges, and poor pavement conditions. Furthermore, non-automobile options in rural areas, including bicycle/pedestrian facilities and mass transit, are often extremely limited or nonexistent. Map 9 below shows the areas within the Lower Savannah region where the TAC has approved Guideshare funding for road improvement projects for funding years 2017- 2022.
  39. 39. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 38 Map 9. Regional Transportation Improvement Projects Commuting Patterns Population movement in a geographic area occurs for multiple reasons. Residential mobility and commuting patterns can explain the activities of a region’s population as they relate to employment and housing. Data about area movement provides a relaxed perspective of geographical area as opposed to rigid pre-imposed boundaries (i.e. city limits, county/state lines, natural barriers such as rivers, etc.). Analysis of movements of a population provides a snapshot of behaviors in the region. For the purposes of the CEDS, commuting trends can be analyzed to determine the population who travel outside of the region for employment, those who travel within the region for employment, and those who travel to the region from other areas for employment.
  40. 40. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 39 Figure 11 identifies the commuting travel time to work for workers age 16 and over in the region. FIGURE 11. COMMUTING TRAVEL TIME (2015) Travel Time to Work: Workers 16 and Over County Less than 15 Minutes 15-29 Minutes 30-44 Minutes 45-59 Minutes 60 or More Minutes Average Travel Time to Work (Minutes) Aiken 16,177 27,301 14,027 4,781 4,106 24.0 Allendale 1,100 533 272 168 593 26.6 Bamberg 2,342 1,152 935 450 359 21.6 Barnwell 2,497 2,119 1,348 828 960 27.1 Calhoun 1,039 2,192 1,660 688 434 27.3 Orangeburg 10,344 10,647 4,694 3,191 3,427 25.9 Source: US Census The lack of employment and/or housing reduces the personal choices available in the region, and in particular the rural areas of the region. The above figure illustrates the varying commuting times to work by County and gives an average travel time for each. Commuting patterns for work and residential mobility are interconnected. The availability of quality and satisfactory housing affects lifestyle behaviors, as does the lack of satisfactory employment. The data above supports this statement and suggests that a large number of the residents and workers in the region are having to travel almost 30 or more minutes to reach adequate employment to meet their needs. The primary mode of transportation to work for workers in the Lower Savannah region is by automobile. Approximately 83% of all workers in the region drove alone to work. Few workers reported carpooling to work was their mode of transportation (10%), while less than 1% used some form of public transportation. It is also worth mentioning that 3.12% of households in the region reported having no vehicle for transportation, and 23.1% of households had only one vehicle. Freight Movement The Lower Savannah COG TAC completed a regional freight mobility study for the Lower Savannah region. The study is a strategic plan that describes priority investments and policies to enhance the region’s ability to move freight efficiently and cost-effectively. The primary challenge for the region is the development of a reliable transportation system, while addressing the imbalance of through truck movements (movement of freight not originating from nor destined to a point within the region), which may strain maintenance budgets. High capacity routes, such as I-20, I-26 and I-95 have been identified as carrying the highest proportion of freight in the region and projected growth indicates that this trend of movement along the perimeter, versus the interior of the region, will continue.
  41. 41. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 40 Recommendations for immediate implementation include the development of a truck route master plan, implementation of design standards to accommodate truck traffic, geometric and intersection improvements, and the creation of an urban roadway utilization policy and a comprehensive land use policy. An executive summary of the Lower Savannah Regional Freight Mobility Study is attached in the Appendix. Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities The Lower Savannah COG TAC most recently completed a regional bicycle and pedestrian facilities study for the region. This study was conducted in order to provide a strong foundation for the development of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, policies and programs in the region. The plan provides local and regional goals for improving bicycling and walking, presents an analysis of existing conditions for walking and biking, investigates safety issues, future demand, and potential benefits of increased bicycle and pedestrian use, presents systematic improvements, recommends programs, policies, and partner organizations to help encourage and grow walking and bicycling in the region, identifies potential funding sources and strategies for implementation, and provides region-specific design guidelines for improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities. An executive summary of the Lower Savannah Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Study is attached in the Appendix as well as Map 10: Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Shoulder Improvement Recommendations. Housing A brief overview of the housing environment in the region can help determine housing patterns and needs. Adequate and safe housing is a basic human need. The American Public Health Association ranks housing as one of the top three issues affecting personal and community health. One of the problems of the region is that while there is an abundance of affordable, developable land, it is difficult to attract quality private development to the region. Land development standards adopted in all six counties, provide minimum standards for development throughout the entire region. These development standards are essential in improving quality of life by eliminating substandard development and requiring infrastructure for most housing developments. There were an estimated 139,917 existing housing units in the Lower Savannah Region in 2010. As would be expected, a majority of these units are located in the region’s two most populated counties, Aiken and Orangeburg. The regions share of South Carolina’s total housing stock in 2010 was approximately 7%. Figure 9 below shows the regions housing unit supply and projected growth.
  42. 42. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 41 Figure 9. Regional Housing Unit Supply and Projections Total Number of Housing Units 1990 % Change 1990 - 2000 2000 % Change 2000 -2010 2010 % Change 2010-2015 Projected 2015 Projection Aiken County 49,266 25.82% 61,987 13.02% 70,055 5.15% 73,661 Allendale County 4,242 7.69% 4,568 -1.77% 4,487 -3.88% 4,313 Bamberg County 6,408 11.27% 7,130 -1.36% 7,033 -3.41% 6,793 Barnwell County 7,854 29.76% 10,191 1.23% 10,316 0.20% 10,337 Calhoun County 5,225 31.37% 6,864 3.25% 7,087 -0.95% 7,020 Orangeburg County 32,340 21.53% 39,304 4.16% 40,939 0.46% 41,126 Lower Savannah Region Total 105,335 23.46% 130,044 7.59% 139,917 2.38% 143,250 South Carolina 1,424,155 23.14% 1,753,670 19.42% 2,094,193 7.16% 2,244,078 Source: US Census, Claritas Census As shown in Figure 9 above, all counties within the region had moderate to substantial growth in the number of new housing units built between the years of 1990 and 2000. The housing unit growth rate percentage within the region during this time frame was slightly higher than the State of South Carolina as a whole. During the time frame of 2000–2010, housing unit growth within the region slowed significantly. Allendale County and Bamberg County lost housing units. Barnwell County, Calhoun County, and Orangeburg County only had slight gains. Aiken County was the only county within the region where housing unit growth between years 2000-2010 was consistent with the growth of the previous decade (1990-2000). As a region, the housing unit growth rate percentage was 7.59%, considerably less than State of South Carolina’s housing unit growth rate percentage as a whole which was 19.42%. Map 11 on the following page illustrates the regional housing unit growth for the year 2010.
  43. 43. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 42 Map 11. Regional Housing Unit Growth 2000-2015 The Lower Savannah region offers diversity in terms of housing type. Single-family (1-unit detached) units are detached from other houses, with open space on all four sides. The US Census Bureau includes single unit modular housing (built off-site and transported to the site) in their definition of single-family units. Detached single-family homes are the source of housing for most residents living within the counties of the Lower Savannah Region, comprising nearly two-thirds (61.15%) of the available housing stock. This percentage is slightly less than the state as a whole where (62.74%) of the available housing stock are Single-family detached units. The lesser amount of single-family detached units is not due to a greater amount of multi-family units available, but rather the abundance of manufactured/mobile housing available in the region.
  44. 44. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 43 Single units that are attached (1-unit attached) have one or more walls extending from ground to roof that separate the unit from adjoining structures. Costs for attached single-family and duplex construction are generally less per housing unit than site-built, single-family homes. Almost 3,000 housing units in the Lower Savannah Region (2.06%) are single, attached units. This percentage is slightly less than the state as a whole, where (2.29%) of all housing units are single family attached units. Duplexes include 2 housing units in one structure. In the Lower Savannah Region (1.67%) of all housing units are duplexes, as compared to (2.17%) for the state. Multi-family buildings contain more than two housing units within the structure. Construction costs for multi-family development are generally less per housing unit. These lower construction costs are passed on to buyers of condominium units and renters, making this housing type generally a less expensive alternative for residents. Multi-family units comprise (6.07%) of all housing units in the Lower Savannah Region. For South Carolina, Multi-family units comprise (13.10%) of the total housing stock. The main reason for the much lower percentage of multi-family housing, as compared to the state, can be attributed to the fact that much of the region is in a rural environment where the demand for multi-family housing is not present and, in a majority of the region, where infrastructure does not exist to handle the demands of higher density land uses. Manufactured/mobile homes are constructed off-site and transported to the site on wheels that are attached to the structure. Manufactured/mobile housing offers a less expensive alternative to site-built housing and currently comprises 28.17% of the Lower Savannah Regions housing stock. This is much higher than statewide percentage of 18.18. As in most communities, the term manufactured home includes both manufactured homes (those built after current 1976 HUD code) and mobile homes (those units that predate the 1976 HUD code). Manufactured/mobile homes comprise a significant percentage of the housing stock throughout the Lower Savannah Region. Less regulation, lower land costs, and increased land availability in rural areas can make manufactured home developments an attractive and cheaper housing option that single family site built homes. Environment The Lower Savannah region is located in the central to southwestern portion of South Carolina. It is bordered on the west by the Savannah River and the State of Georgia, and on the east by Lake Marion, an impoundment of the Santee River. The region comprises an area of 3,945 square miles and contains the following six counties: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg Counties. The majority of the Lower Savannah region lies within the coastal plain physiographic province of the state. The region is generally characterized by nearly level, broad ridgetops and gently sloping to rolling areas that are adjacent to narrow floodplains along the streams. The region contains a number of what are commonly called “Carolina Bays” or “Sand Bays” which are circular depressions thought to be Aeolian features dating to the late glacial period, and which are scattered about the state.
  45. 45. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 44 The vast majority of the land use in the region is in the agriculture and forest group. Forest lands account for more than half of the land use in the region. Agriculture accounts for about 22 percent of the land use. The primary species of tree in the area is the loblolly pine. Shortleaf pine, longleaf pine, slash pine and oak are also predominant in forested areas. After the forest and agriculture lands, wetlands account for over 15 percent of the land cover. Water and barren land account for about 2 percent of the region’s total area. Map 12 below depicts the land coverage classifications for the Lower Savannah Region based on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) data. The map is also included in the appendix. The US Department of Fish and Wildlife has identified several endangered species known to occur within the Lower Savannah Region. These include wood stork, red-cockaded woodpecker, shortnose sturgeon, relict trillium, piedmont bishop-weed, smooth coneflower and canby’s dropwort to name a few. Map 12. DNR Regional Land Coverage Classifications
  46. 46. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 45 Land Resources The Lower Savannah region remains predominately rural in character and density and offers large amounts of land that are developable. The prospect of “urban sprawl” is currently a minimal concern for the region, however, without land development regulations, incompatible and insensitive development is still a valid concern. Land development tools can assure the quality and compatibility of future development, maintain the quality of existing development, and further develop the character of the region in order to attract new development. The most common existing land use conflicts in the unincorporated areas of the counties results primarily from the increased siting of new manufactured and modular homes in close proximity to existing site-built conventional housing. This is an increasingly common occurrence in less developed rural areas that do not have land development tools such as land development regulations or zoning ordinances in place to guide and control growth and development. Land use and development controls are designed to protect the investment of the present residents, to minimize inconveniences to future residents, and to limit the cost of serving a growing population with the types of services needed. These tools also protect industry in that they give prospective companies assurance that industrial zones and development standards indicate that the community will provide the necessary land and resources needed for industrial use properties. Given the rate of growth in the Augusta metropolitan area to the west and the coastal area to the east, developmental interest in the region in all likelihood will increase. The lower cost of land on the fringe of the urbanizing metropolitan areas and the absence of local developmental controls indicate the potential for lower development cost. This situation can eventually attract less responsible developers interested in cutting corners and maximizing their initial profits at the cost of existing and future residents and industry. Existing residential land use and ownership patterns are only one of several factors for determining future development patterns in the region. Assuming that vacant property can be purchased at a reasonable price when a market for additional land development occurs, the potential for conflicting land uses would be a most probable land development constraint. Another consideration would be development incompatible with environmental regulations that provide protection for wetlands, mature forests, historically significant areas, and areas populated by threatened or endangered species.
  47. 47. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 46 OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis The following is a list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats identified in the Lower Savannah region. Strengths and weaknesses are usually defined more internal to the region and are more easily controlled. Opportunities and threats are generally those things that have external influences on the region and are more difficult to control. Regional Strengths and Opportunities Regional Weaknesses and Threats  Geographic location  Close proximity to the Low Country as well as Charleston for manufacturing  Many opportunities for multi-state partnerships  Higher education opportunities including three universities and technical colleges, which provide apprenticeships and training  Orangeburg and Aiken have strong legislative presences at the state level  Trails and the outdoors  Three Interstates  Transit system  Economic Development agencies  Opportunities for “Self-Investment”  Project Jackson: destination for public transit  Global connections and investment  Future infrastructure expansions including: interstate, water/wastewater/sewer, and broadband technology  Use of Penny Sales Tax for matching funding  RIA for infrastructure needs  Unemployment  Lower educational attainment  Funding and grant opportunities  Slow development progress due to funding issues  Lack of public transit  Competitive workforce  Primary education  Access to affordable housing is very limited  Lack of broadband and technology  Young people leaving because desired quality of life with amenities not being met causing “Youth Flight”  Not being prepared  Low tax rate, which particularly affects infrastructure spending  Image and perception a marketing problem  Must change the way we communication, educate and network  Resiliency  Need collaboration between counties Economic Investment The Department of Commerce is South Carolina’s lead agency for the growth and development of business and industry and is one of the sixteen state agencies that make up the Governor’s Cabinet. Local, state and federal funds are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain and citizens are demanding greater accountability for the funds being allocated at all levels of government. As a result, strategic planning becomes even more critical. Through strategic planning, development within the region will be more cost effective and result in the most efficient utilization of the available funding.
  48. 48. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 47 The analysis addresses the local and state economy, the opportunities and constraints posed by external trends and market forces, and the availability of partners and resources for economic development. The region’s goals and vision, together with an inventory of the region’s competitive advantage, set the strategic direction a plan of action. This plan establishes the program priorities for implementation in addition to establishing performance measures. In recent years, the Lower Savannah region has experienced the dislocation that can be caused by dependence on a very limited number of historically important industries, whether they are textile, agriculture or defense oriented. Employment has decreased substantially in the more labor intensive industries, particularly in textiles, which also has tremendous impact on the region’s workforce, and demonstrates the need to upgrade skill and education levels. It is important that Lower Savannah pursue a broad approach to economic development that will help to improve the skill levels of the region’s labor force and capitalize on the region’s many assets to provide for growth that will enhance the region’s economy as well as its potential for future growth. This approach will include all aspects of a stable economy including manufacturing, downtown/commercial revitalization, tourism, as well as technology transfer from the public sector to the private. Much of the past EDA investment in the Lower Savannah Region has been tied to improving the competiveness of the region economic development efforts either through improving the skills of the region’s labor force or improving the region’s infrastructure capacity. The majority of those investments have provided improvements to infrastructure and are primarily linked to the development of industrial parks which has enhanced the region’s economic development foundation and its long term marketability. However, there remains much of the area that does not have infrastructure, in particular access to interstates, to accommodate potential growth. Based on the information provided in the most recently released SCDEW Community Profile for the Lower Savannah local workforce development area, Central Region’s Sector Strategy Initiative and conversations with our economic development partners throughout the region, as well as various task force meetings, four of the highest projected growth sectors in the Lower Savannah area are: manufacturing, healthcare, transportation/logistics, and construction. The manufacturing sector has a projected growth of 6.3% between 2012 and 2022, outpacing the state in Diversified Manufacturing projections. The healthcare sector has a projected growth of 26.5% between 2012 and 2022. The transportation/logistics sector has a projected growth of 24.7% between 2012 and 2022. The construction sector has a projected growth of 27.8% between 2012 and 2022. These are also the four identified career clusters by the Lower Savannah Workforce Development Board's Strategic Plan 2012-2016. The Lower Savannah Workforce Development Area (LSWDA) doesn’t have a priority ranking for the identified clusters because of the size and differences among the region. All four are targeted areas of training.
  49. 49. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 48 Savannah River Site Located on the western side of the region is one of the state’s largest employers. The Savannah River Site (SRS) is a 310 square mile Department of Energy facility that is one of the world’s leaders in technology associated with the handling and storage of hydrogen. As such, they are the focus of new hydrogen technology development. SRS is located in portions of Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell Counties. With a facility of this nature and the tremendous amount of expertise located literally within the borders of these counties provides tremendous opportunity for spinoff and support businesses. These Counties are now seeking ways they can use the technology and expertise available at SRS as a catalyst to bring in new private industries capable of capitalizing on the opportunities available in this area into production and manufacturing growth and facilitate their establishment. The economic impacts of SRS are closely tied to the economies of the region. Although the Site is located in parts of Aiken, Allendale, and Barnwell Counties, the influence of the Site extends into Georgia to Richmond and Columbia Counties. Together, these five counties are the SRS Impact Areas. SRS employs 3.6 percent of all employed residents in the five- county Impact Area. 81% of the Site’s employees live in the region. Employees at the Site earn over twice as much as the regional average wage. The influence of SRS extends across the entire region as many of the dollars circulating in the regional economy originate from or are related to the Site. With an annual budget of $1.9 billion, SRS is responsible for $1.2 billion direct expenditures within the five-county region. Overall, SRS has created 18,705 jobs and resulted in 389 million is local, state, and federal taxes with $97.5 million for local and state governments. For every job created or lost at the Site, the community gains or loses approximately one non-SRS job (e.g., restaurant workers, retail, realtors, etc.). In the next five years, roughly 3,000 workers are expected to retire and be replaced by younger workers. Additionally, approximately 13,000 new residents associated with Fort Gordon are expected to enter the region. Aiken County has developed a strategy to capitalize on SRS as an economic driver in the development of an economic cluster emerging from the many opportunities available there. This includes the availability of scientific expertise, technology transfer, potential suppliers, federal laboratories, and
  50. 50. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 49 regional research universities. The County’s objective is to create an environment conducive to technology-based business start-ups, business expansions and the attraction of new ventures in the County. Their basic strategy has been to maintain core technologies for both industrial competitiveness and national security, to grow technology companies, and to leverage the availability of skilled people and facilities. The focus of the County is on industries that use the latest technology and those involved in manufacturing, research and development. As part of their efforts Aiken County developed the Savannah River Research Campus that focuses on industries that use the latest technology and those involved in manufacturing, research and development. A primary objective in the development of the Research Campus is to implement a cluster that will promote and facilitate the transfer of technology from the public sector by working with SRS, federal laboratories, and regional research universities to expand on cutting edge technology. Aiken County’s commitment to the development of this cluster was demonstrated by the level of their investment in the Savannah River Research Campus, which included the construction of two buildings with approximately 100,000 sf of space dedicated to science and technology and the construction of the 60,000 sf, Center for Hydrogen Research in the Park. The Hydrogen Research Center is now the Applied Research Center (ARC), a small company spun off by the Economic Development Partnership (EDP). Working closely with the Savannah River Redevelopment Authority, one the EDP’s missions is to facilitate economic development opportunities associated with Savannah River Site technology, capabilities and missions. The ARC’s primary purpose and objectives are focused on research and development, technology transfer and commercialization in three primary areas, national defense, health and education. The ARC not only houses and conducts hydrogen research and development with the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), but smaller research and development companies. The ARC has become the research and development arm of SRS and is also used by universities and industry that want to capitalize on the knowledge and expertise available through the Savannah River Research Campus. A relationship currently exists between the ARC and the National Science Foundation Fuel Cell Center of Excellence at the University of South Carolina. This relationship has already spawned several hydrogen innovations. Several other companies have expressed interest in locating in the user facility in order to work closely with SRTC on new technology. The transfer of technology between the ARC and the private sector will contribute greatly to the success of these efforts. With ARC and the laboratory now in place, the Research Campus has central research facilities for a number of like-industries. The laboratories are an anchor to attract new companies, jobs, new technology and establish the area as an active participant in the development of new sources of energy. The proximity of the Research Campus, SRS with emphasis on technology transfer and commercialization of technology-oriented functions is an important part of the Aiken County’s strategy.
  51. 51. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 50 The close association of Aiken County, the EDP and ARC reflects the close relationship and desire by those organizations to establish an economy in which technology for job creation is a major player. Another player in the structure of the post-nuclear economy is the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization (SRSCRO). The SRSCRO is a private non-profit organization charged with developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to diversify the economy of a five-county region in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) of Georgia and South Carolina. SRSCRO counties include Aiken, Allendale and Barnwell in South Carolina and Richmond and Columbia counties in Georgia. Originally, its mission was to develop and implement a regional economic development plan utilizing technology-based facilities at SRS. Today, the SRSCRO remains focused on diversifying the region’s economy by supporting new business ventures that create new jobs in the region and strives to serve as an informed, unified community voice for the region. One of the largest economic drivers in the rural counties is the SouthernCarolina Regional Development Alliance. The SouthernCarolina Alliance is the regional non-profit economic development organization representing the most rural economic region of the state including Allendale, Bamberg, and Barnwell Counties. The mission of the SouthernCarolina Alliance is to improve the quality of life for the region’s citizens through job creation and plays a strong leadership role at the local, state, and federal levels. SouthernCarolina Alliance markets multi-county industrial parks, industrial buildings, and sites encompassing over 14,000 acres of industrial property for development. SouthernCarolina Alliance assists industries in the execution and funding of environmental and engineering studies, onsite preparation, and public relations. The Alliance has partnered with the LSCOG, the SRS Redevelopment Authority as well as the SRS Community Reuse Organization on various projects for the community. Barnwell County plays a strong role in the pursuit of economic opportunities, with the development of the South Carolina Advanced Technology (SCAT) by the Alliance. The SCAT Park and the Savannah River Research Campus will help the area mitigate the adverse effects of SRS downsizing by helping to accommodate additional industrial growth in the area adjacent to SRS by providing a prime location to industries wanting access to expertise and markets available at the site. The SCAT Park is a 1,600 square foot facility home to large industries generating more than half a billion dollars in private investment and 460 jobs. Orangeburg County is making progress towards economic development with the creation of The One Orangeburg County Initiative (TOOCI). The One Orangeburg County Initiative (TOOCI) is a newly developed collaborative effort supported by the Orangeburg County Development Commission. The vision of TOOCI is to transform Orangeburg County into the premier place to live, work, learn, shop, and play. TOOCI’s mission is to identify, streamline, and implement critical work in support of the vision through the collaborative effort of key leaders in the community. TOOCI includes business executives and owners, representatives from local colleges and universities, elected officials, K-12 education administrators, higher education officials, health care representatives, law enforcement, public entity partners, and other organizations including both the
  52. 52. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 51 Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association. TOOCI is made of four Task Forces: Gateway Enhancements, K-16 Education, Commercial, Housing, & Retail, Marketing & Communications and includes an Executive Committee. Projects will be funded through public and private partnerships as well as a recently granted legislative delegation commitment of $100,000 from State Senator John W. Matthews. These funds are to be utilized with the Orangeburg County Partnership in order to leverage private sector donations to accomplish the identified goals of TOOCI. While this is the first grant for TOOCI, many members of Orangeburg’s leadership have assisted with basic funding of the initiative by making donations, all which are tax deductible. The initial seed money of $50,000 will help form the initiative’s framework, providing a budget for each task force to work independently. The total commitment of $100,000 dollars is for operational funding over the next 12-18 months in two installments. While the initiative aims to help improve the quality of life in Orangeburg, it will not be possible without “The 1,000”. The 1,000 is a grass-roots initiative to get people in the community involved and keep them informed about what is going on in Orangeburg County. It includes young professionals and college students, investors, property owner and county stakeholders.
  53. 53. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 52 Fort Gordon/Cyber Security Recently designated the home of the U.S. Army Cyber Command and Cyber Center of Excellence, Fort Gordon offers the potential for economic growth within the Lower Savannah region. The U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence is responsible for network operations and defense of all Army networks and offers the military’s largest communications and cyber security training centers. The addition of the Cyber Center is expected to create 4,000 new cyber security jobs. There is more than $211 million in current construction and another $1.4 billion in projected upgrades, renovation, and construction over the next 10 years. The Cyber Center has turned the region into a hub for cyber security and made Fort Gordon the single point of contact for external cyberspace and information operations organizations. Fort Gordon offers a tremendous opportunity for private and governmental contractors as well as for technology and information companies to relocate to the region. The economic impacts of the new Cyber Center will greatly affect the Lower Savannah region. The Fort Gordon Cyber District serves as an economic development engine for this growth. The Fort Gordon Cyber District will draw a diverse group of people to the region, including professional working individuals, young families, recent college graduates, retired military personnel, and entrepreneurs. The combination of technology, healthcare and energy sectors has created a robust knowledge-based economy with opportunities for growth and technological innovation. Stimulating economic growth is possible by responding to the demands of the employers and growing knowledge-based workforce by investing in infrastructure and live-work-play environments.
  54. 54. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 53 Clean Fuels/Biomass South Carolina is a partner in the Clean Cities program through its Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition. Clean Cities is a locally based, voluntary public/private partnership coordinated by the US Department of Energy (DOE) that expands the use of alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel. The Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition builds on local initiative and partnerships and nationwide networks to achieve its goals. These coalitions create effective programs that will combine for a sustainable nationwide alternative fuels market. Additionally, the South Carolina Biomass Council was created in April 2006 to develop a long term strategy for biomass energy in the state. The Council has compiled a set of policy recommendations intended to enhance biomass-to-energy opportunities, demonstration projects, grants, and research. The Palmetto State Clean Fuels Coalition recently partnered with the South Carolina Biomass Council to provide information and benefits for the two groups’ broad-based, diverse coalition of stakeholders ranging from government entities to private industry. With all its agricultural resources the region has potential in alternative/clean fuels. The availability of agricultural resources such as corn and soybean farms hold a tremendous potential for ethanol and biodiesel production and distribution, which is now beginning to take place in portions of the region. Logistics Freight planning and logistics are becoming increasingly important in the region as the Ports of Savannah and Charleston grow; and the Jasper Terminal becomes operational. The location of major manufactures such as Boing, Volvo, Bridgestone, etc. in the region is having a significant impact on the need for better roads. Major road improvements to I-20 in Aiken County and within the Logistic Triangle in Orangeburg County are enhancing the future role of logistics in the area.
  55. 55. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 54 Orangeburg County is one of a small number of counties in the southeastern United States that can claim immediate access to two interstates: I-95 and I-26. There are several characteristics that clearly define this area as ideal for major economic development. Orangeburg’s location along I-26 is approximately 50 miles northwest of the City of Charleston, a major east coast port. Orangeburg is located approximately 70 miles southeast of the City of Columbia, the largest city in South Carolina, a southeastern hub, and the state capital. This area is also located on I-95, approximately halfway between Maine and Miami on the East Coast, and just 100 miles north of the Port of Savannah near Savannah, Georgia. Land prices are increasing greatly near the port of Charleston and land is relatively inexpensive in the I-95/I-26 corridor. Because of its position on national trade routes, Orangeburg County has placed major investment in the development of a regional economic area in the eastern end of the county called the Global Logistics Triangle. The strategy for the area is to develop a cluster to serve the logistics, advanced manufacturing, and multi-modal freight industries. Based on their strategic location and with access to two interstates, surface water and rail Orangeburg County, is a prime location for a cluster centered on logistics and value added advanced manufacturing opportunities. Due to anticipated rapid growth, beginning in 2011 Orangeburg County embarked on a major planning effort that involved hundreds of residents and a large number of stakeholders. The Eastern Orangeburg County Sustainability Study was conducted with funding in part through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program offered through the South Carolina Department of Commerce and with staff assistance from the Lower Savannah Council of Governments. A consulting firm led the study which now provides communities in eastern Orangeburg County with strategic and sustainable tools for guiding new development and creating a higher quality of life for area residents.
  56. 56. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 55 Three key products were developed through this process:  Sustainability Study that outlines the guiding principles, preferred strategy for future growth, and sustainable planning recommendations for the region  Fiscal Impact Study that identifies the fiscal implications of future growth and provides recommendations for addressing these impacts while maintaining the fiscal health of local governments in the study area  Toolbox of Local Government Approaches that provides participating local governments with a quick reference guide on the planning tools identified in the Sustainability and Fiscal Impact studies After more than a year of work by the participating Eastern Orangeburg County communities and planners, implementation of the Sustainability Study is underway. The study identifies the changes that need to occur so that Eastern Orangeburg County is in a position to benefit from local, national, and global changes, and to improve the quality of life for residents in the Lower Savannah region as well as ensure sustainable economic growth in the study area. Orangeburg County area colleges and universities are preparing the area workforce with several logistics and transportation related investments. South Carolina State University recently built a transportation learning hub at its James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center. Orangeburg- Calhoun Technical College, with the aid of an EDA construction grant, just completed a transportation training facility that is a resource for driver and CDL training and distribution and logistics as it pertains to workforce development. These efforts will provide a trained local workforce in global logistics and distribution to meet the need of the logistics-based cluster that is rapidly investing in the area. Clusters of distribution, assembly, logistics and telecommunications can be developed to provide the capacity for just in time product delivery in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and near Midwest sections of the United States. With land prices and traffic congestion increasing in the Charleston area, compared to those in Orangeburg County, will help make this area more attractive to industrial projects. Goods and commodities entering the port can be transported via rail on the CSX and/or Norfolk Southern
  57. 57. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 56 lines that serve the county or transported by truck for assembly, packaging and distribution. The development of a cluster of this nature will also provide opportunities for support and service businesses, in addition to potential commercial business opportunities that can benefit from the increased amount of vehicles passing through the area. Timber/Wood Products Another area with tremendous potential is the long term prospects of the region’s tremendous timber resources. With more than 58% of the region covered in forest, the potential for value added production for the entire region grows. This much forest land coupled with the surface water also offers potential to attract tourists to the area. Several industries in the region have taken advantage of the plentiful timber resources. Those industries that utilize timber and timber processing byproducts have found success in the more rural counties such as Allendale and Bamberg counties. Best Management Practices are encouraged and even required by zoning ordinance in some counties within the region. While the future development of clusters will help the more distressed areas of the region, there are a number of hurdles to address such as infrastructure and transportation issues that will be difficult to overcome. An area that must be addressed if the region is to carry out any of the issues discussed above or to compete for economic development projects and be able to accommodate growth is the lack of available infrastructure capacity. This is one of the toughest problems currently facing the region and must be addressed if the region is to be competitive with other areas for economic development projects. While recent funding from various sources has provided relief, the majority of the region is unable to accommodate potential growth.
  58. 58. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 57 Regional Economic Challenges The region’s traditional industries have gone through significant changes in recent decades as the global economy has restructured. Many mass production operations in manufacturing have moved overseas, with the effect being a decline in employment in industries such as textiles and apparel manufacturing. However, with better planned logistics and freight systems, manufacturing is becoming viable once again in the region and faces challenges, such as a ready workforce, as the regrowth occurs. Traditional manufacturing industries, as well as agriculture, will continue to be a presence in the regional economy through greater use of technology and skilled labor. Agriculture in particular has a diminished presence in terms of employment, but specialized operations and advanced manufacturing require a skilled workforce. A key development strategy for the region, and throughout the state, is through industry clusters. A regional strategy should focus on promoting prominent existing clusters, including energy, nuclear and other clean fuels, advanced manufacturing, logistics, and work on identifying other existing clusters.
  59. 59. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 58 VISION FOR THE REGION As an Economic Development District, the Lower Savannah EDD strives in its pursuit of excellence and innovation in both regional economic development and organizational performance. The District is focused on fostering a regional strategic planning and implementation framework that is results oriented, focused on aligning and leveraging resources, inclusive of public, private and nonprofit sector leaders, and emphasizes the importance of asset-based regional economic development. The District shares with the nation’s 380 EDDs a common vision that includes the following seven principles of CEDS Standards of Excellence, developed in cooperation with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO): 1. Build more resilient economies and communities by focusing and targeting regional strategies on the existing and potential competitive advantages of each individual region. 2. Foster a regional collaborative framework to strategically align public sector investments from federal, state and local sources, as well as private, nonprofit and philanthropic partners. 3. Use modern scenario, data and analysis tools and planning techniques that provide policy makers, stakeholders and the public with evidence based and factual based information. 4. Transport the CEDS process into a more strategy driven planning process focused on regional visioning, priorities setting and performance outcomes, rather than broad based encyclopedia or narrative of the region with a laundry list of random projects and programs. 5. Promote and support peer reviews and exchanges of Economic Development District planning professionals and policy officials with the goal of increasing collaboration across EDD boundaries, enhancing organizational resources, and positioning regional CEDS as more effective building blocks for statewide and local strategies. 6. Communicate in a compelling and modern communication style, including use of executive summaries, high quality print and online media, and social media. 7. Engage the public, private, nonprofit and educational sectors, along with the general public, in the development and implementation of the CEDS.
  60. 60. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 59 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy establishes the goals and objectives necessary to solve the economic problems and capitalize on the resources of the region. Strategic projects, programs, and activities identified in the CEDS are designed to fulfill these goals and objectives. Goals are broad, primary regional expectations. Objectives are more specific than goals, clearly measurable, and stated in realistic terms considering what can be accomplished over the five-year time-frame of the CEDS. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT & EDUCATION GOAL 1: Connect and align education and workforce development programs to develop the region’s current and future talent supply chain and meet employer needs. Objective 1.1 Expand options for high school students to become industry certified while still in high school in order to obtain stackable credentials. Objective 1.2 Integrate education, training, and workforce development to develop a strong supply chain. Objective 1.3 Support efforts by Aiken Technical College, Orangeburg Calhoun Tech, Denmark Tech, USC-Aiken, USC-Salk, Voorhees College, Claflin University, and SC State University to expand education programs in all fields and create a marketing strategy to promote enrollment in all programs. Objective 1.4 Support the creation of education and training programs responsive to current needs and expected future trends. GOAL 2: Expand access to education and training programs for talent in markets throughout the region. Objective 2.1 Support the creation of online and distance learning programs for students that lack other means of attaining necessary training.
  61. 61. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 60 INNOVATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GOAL 3: Grow, sustain, and integrate efforts related to research and development, technology and commercialization, and seed capital to create, nurture, and expand regional innovation businesses. Objective 3.1 Support the development of existing and new business incubators and accelerators throughout the region. Objective 3.2 Support the efforts of the SRS to translate its research and development efforts into viable technology commercialization with an emphasis on growing and retaining those efforts in the region. Objective 3.3 Support Ft. Gordon’s cyber Initiative and create mechanisms to attract and develop both commercial and residential development. GOAL 4: Increase the number of regional businesses engaged in selling goods and services internationally and the diversification of the markets they serve. Objective 4.1 Provide educational opportunities to regional businesses interested in international trade on the advantages of exporting their goods and services. GOAL5: Support branding and marketing of the Lower Savannah counties as the best locations for business. Objective 5.1 Support the area Economic Development Partnerships efforts to market the region in the country and around the world. Objective 5.2 Support the development of certified industrial sites by pursuing funding sources for the infrastructure necessary to develop the catalyst sites to shovel ready status. INFRASTRUCTURE & GROWTH LEADERSHIP GOAL 6: Modernize the region’s transportation, telecommunications, energy, water, and wastewater systems to meet future demand and respond to changing business needs. Objective 6.1 Support the development of an efficient and affordable public transit system in and nearby urban centers.
  62. 62. 2017 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Page 61 Objective 6.2 Support the development of diverse, reliable, and cost effective energy sources and systems to meet the region’s economic and environmental goals. Objective 6.3 Ensure the future supply and quality of water meet the region’s economic and quality of life goals by encouraging the use of the groundwater resources of the region in a sustainable manner and by strengthening local control of area surface and groundwater systems and supplies. Objective 6.4 Develop and maintain a cutting-edge telecommunications infrastructure by supporting local utility initiatives to bring high-speed internet service to the rural areas of the region. Objective 6.5 Develop and maintain multimodal, interconnected trade, logistics, and transportation systems to enhance freight mobility in support of a prosperous, competitive economy. Objective 6.6 Support the continued development and improvement of the various county airports as part of the effort to expand economic development opportunities in all areas. GOAL 7: Improve coordination of economic development, land use, infrastructure, water, energy, natural resources, workforce and community development decision-making and investments at the regional level. Objective 7.1 Improve collaboration and alignment between regional and local agencies and business leaders through a regional vision. LOCAL IMPACT GOAL 8: Support and sustain regional partnerships to accomplish the region’s economic and quality of life goals. Objective 8.1 Utilize the existing Economic Development Partnership’s public education efforts as a vehicle to provide a functional understanding of economic development concepts to local elected officials. Objective 8.2 Work with the South Carolina Association of Counties and the Municipal Association of South Carolina to add economic development information to their curriculums for newly elected officials.

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